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Question:
How are atoms smashed? And what are the benefits of atom smashing? I have heard of a place called Fermlab in Batavia, IL., do they smash atoms and why?



Replies:
Atom smasher is a misnomer for Fermi Lab. In Fermi Lab. and other particle accelerators particles are accelerated and made to collide. Several particles get created as a result of collisions and the study of these particles is Particle physics, the science which is practiced in Fermi Lab.( I hope so !! )

jasjeet s bagla


Though the "particles" they start out with are protons, which are the nuclei of Hydrogen atoms. And they do occasionally send them smashing into fixed targets which are made up of heavier atoms. But for the most part, we are talking about things that are much smaller than atoms, and in fact the particles are smaller than even the tiny nuclei of atoms. The reason it makes sense to smash these little bits of matter together at high energy is a simple relation between energy and distance that physicists have come up with - in order to examine matter on the very smallest distance scales, you have to give it a high energy - the higher the energy, the shorter the distance you can look at. Particle physicists think matter becomes very simple at the very shortest distances, and in fact they have had some success in showing that for example the proton can be described as a combination of 3 particles (called quarks) which interact very strongly and large distances, but more weakly at very small distances. Simplifying things further, however, is still a big problem.

Arthur Smith



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